Uses, benefits, risks and more


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Potato starch is the starch extracted from potatoes. Starch turns to a light, powdery, flour-like consistency once it dries, and it’s a common ingredient that’s featured in many recipes.

To make potato starch, a person crushes raw potatoes, which separates the starch grains from the destroyed cells. The starch is then cleaned and allowed to dry. When dry, the potato starch forms a white, powdery, flour-like consistency.

Potato starch is gluten-free, which means it can work effectively as an alternative to regular gluten-free flour in some recipes.

This article explores the uses and benefits of potato starch and compares its different types.

Potato starch is a common ingredient that is featured in a variety of recipes. In addition to sprinkling it raw on food, a person can use potato starch in the manner below.

Thickening agents

One of the main uses for potato starch is as a thickener in a variety of recipes because it is effective in absorbing water.

However, extreme heat can cause starch to break down, meaning it may not absorb moisture properly, hampering its thickening effect. Therefore, it is better to gently heat the starch and gradually add it to sauces.

Recipes that contain potato starch as a thickening agent include:

  • soups and sauces
  • pie fillings
  • sauces
  • stews and casseroles

Gluten-free alternative to flour

Since it is gluten-free, potato starch can be a suitable gluten-free alternative to flour in baking recipes.

However, too much potato starch can give baked goods a dry, crumbly texture. Therefore, it can feature in baking recipes alongside other starches.

Common baking recipes that use potato starch include:

  • muffins
  • quick bread recipes
  • gluten free flour mixes

Fry food

Potato starch could serve as a suitable coating for fried foods. It can coat foods, such as chicken, fish or vegetables, before frying them.

The potato starch coating can give foods a golden, crispy outer layer during the frying process.

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. There are three main types:

  • sugars
  • starches
  • alimentary fiber

These carbohydrates are found in a number of plant foods and dairy products. If a person doesn’t heat or cook it, potato starch contains a type of starch called resistant starch.

The small intestine do not digest resistant starches, which means they work in a similar way to dietary fiber. Resistant starches pass into the colon, where they begin to ferment. During the fermentation process, these resistant starches food the good bacteria present in the gut.

There are several health benefits of eating resistant starches in potato starch, including the following.

Potato starch may improve insulin sensitivity

Some research has shown that resistant starch can increase a person’s insulin sensitivity. Raw potato starch, which a person can sprinkle on food, contains this type of starch.

During Study 2012, overweight males ate only 15 to 30 grams (g) of resistant starch per day. They showed increased insulin sensitivity compared to participants who did not eat foods containing resistant starch.

Increased insulin sensitivity may play a role in reducing a person’s risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

However, it should be noted that the female participants did not achieve the same results as the men in this study. Researchers are calling for further studies to determine the reason.

Learn natural ways to improve insulin sensitivity here.

Potato starch may improve digestive and colon health

As a resistant starch ferment, it nourishes healthy bacteria inside the colon by converting to short-chain fatty acids.

Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that is formed during this process – it plays an important role in colon cells.

Butyrate can reduce levels of inflammation in the colon, which can help reduce a person’s risk of developing a number of digestive problems.

In theory, this can reduce an individual’s risk of developing inflammatory problems in the gut and colon, including:

However, most research butyrate and resistant starch involved animals, not humans. Therefore, more human studies are needed to determine whether these benefits affect people.

Find out 10 ways to improve gut health here.

Resistant starch may improve weight loss efforts

A 2017 study have found that eating resistant starch helps people feel full after a meal. During the study, participants ate 30 g of resistant starch each per day for 6 weeks. This reduced the number of hormones that triggered hunger in people who were overweight.

People who ate resistant starch also had increased levels of compounds that helped them feel less hungry in the morning.

Resistant starch in the diet can aid weight loss efforts by increasing feelings of fullness after a meal and increasing the length of time a person feels full.

Learn 10 tips for losing weight here.

Potato starch usually does not pose a lot of risk to a person’s health. Resistant starches, such as potato starch, work the same way as fiber, meaning there are very few side effects after consumption.

However, some people may find that eating large amounts of potato starch causes gas and bloating.

A person can buy potato starch from the following places:

  • in large supermarkets
  • in specialized health food stores
  • at several online retailers

There are several alternatives to potato starch. A person can replace it with one of the following options:

  • Cornstarch is suitable for thickening sauces and frying.
  • Wheat flour is useful for baking, but it contains gluten.
  • Arrowroot powder is suitable for baking and thickening gluten-free sauces.
  • Rice flour is a type of flour that is suitable for gluten-free cooking and thickening sauces.
  • Tapioca starch works well in gluten-free cooking sauces and thickeners.

Learn 9 cornstarch substitutes here.

Potato starch is not the same as potato flour – the first is the starch extracted from mashed potatoes. To make potato flour, a person peels whole potatoes before cooking them, dries them, and grinds them into a fine powder.

The two products differ in several ways. While potato starch contains only starch, potato flour includes starch, fiber, and protein. Potato starch is also tasteless, while potato flour has a distinct potato flavor.

Sweet potato starch is similar to potato starch in the way a person makes it. However, it has different characteristics, which means that it can be featured in different types of regular potato starch recipes.

Sweet potato starch is more grainy than potato starch. It’s also more difficult to dissolve in water than regular potato starch, so it’s not as effective as a thickening agent.

Sweet potato starch sometimes appears in the following types of recipes:

  • Chinese Dim Sum Recipes
  • noodles
  • marinades for ribs and other similar meats before cooking or frying

Usually many starches do not have the required properties which make them suitable for use in certain food products. Therefore, some companies make modified starches to change these qualities.

Manufacturers create modified starch in a laboratory using enzymes or chemicals to alter the structure of the starch. They do this to give it a range of uses, including making it more stable after exposure to extreme temperatures, for example, when heating or freezing food.

Modified potato starch can be used as a food additive in a number of foods. It can offer the same benefits as regular starches, making it suitable for thickening, stabilizing, or emulsifying.

Learn about maltodextrin, a type of starch that manufacturers add to foods.

Potato starch can appear in many recipes as an ingredient. It is effective in thickening sauces, makes a suitable gluten-free addition to baking recipes, and can act as a suitable coating for foods while frying.

Potato starch also offers several possible health benefits, including improved colon health and better insulin sensitivity. It can also help weight loss efforts.

Some suitable alternatives to potato starch include cornstarch, arrowroot powder, rice flour, and tapioca starch.

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About Keith Johnson

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